Choosing the right domain name is essential for a successful online presence. Without a good domain name, you run the risk of being forgotten or lost amongst the masses of websites. If you’re setting up a website to complete your social media profile, i.e. a personal website, then this will function differently to a blog, or an online shop.
It’s important to know what the aim of your site is in order to pick the right name
. There are two main things to watch out for – general tips, as well as tips for specific kinds of website. You can find these recommendations in the sections below.
Brand domain, or keyword domain?
It’s good to decide early on if you want to have a brand domain, or a keyword domain. The benefit of a brand domain is that your domain will most likely be considered as trustworthy, and immediately shows visitors that it’s linked to your business or personal blog. A keyword domain, on the other hand, has the advantage that it will be better optimised for search engines, and therefore will get higher search results. In recent years, however, the drastic improvement in search results has begun to decrease.
You may also want to consider an EMD, an exact match domain. These are domains such as buycameralensesonline.com, which exactly matches what someone might search in Google, for example. However, these domains often seem like spam addresses, and so if you opt for one, be careful to make sure your site seems credible and professional.
One possibility to increase trustworthiness is to look into premium domains. These are already owned domains, and will cost more than a usual domain registration, because they are perceived to have a higher value. These domains can cost thousands, but it may be worth it because of the perceived authenticity.
The first step to a successful website
Finding the right domain name is the first step in building a website that people return to time and time again. Buying a good domain will inevitably boost your online presence, and therefore boost your success as a business or blog, for example. Although it may seem like an investment of time as well as finances to build up a good domain, it’s worth the effort. Content management systems (CMSs) such as WordPress offer a good platform to build up a blog – 1&1 IONOS offer a WordPress CMS package, which includes a free domain for the first few months to get you started.
Two more options to help you get you on your feet may be a one-page website package, or a website builder – both of these are services offered by 1&1 IONOS:
- The one-page website is really the first step in building your online presence, allowing you to gain experience in the online world, as well as link your business to Google’s My Business quickly and easily. The one-page packages are simple and have a load of preset layouts for you to choose from, making the set up very easy. We recommend this for people starting out with their first online projects.
- The second option is a website builder package. This package is suitable for those who want a project with at least two subpages, and is therefore a little more sophisticated. Those who want to be able to control and adapt their website in a competitive field will find a website builder to be ideal.
- Classic domain extensions work for both options, as well as country specific extensions to build up local relevance. nTLD domain names such as .design, .business, or the eye-catching .london are good, .business especially in the case of a website builder package. There’s often confusion surrounding the nTLDs, and it’s good to know that the TLDs that imply a geographical reference are classified as generic top-level domains by Google. For those who opt for website builder packages, it may be worth registering more than one domain extension, especially the classic extensions such as .com, as many users will remember this one better than the nTLDs – if you own the .com version but prefer the nTLD, you can always set up domain forwarding to avoid competition from other websites.
Social media check
Check if your domain name is already being used for social media accounts – for consistency’s sake, it’s good to have the same name across the board.
Numbers in a domain name?
Many online shops have the number 24 in them, to signify 24 hours a day – you may be able to integrate numbers into your domain in a meaningful way to make them unique. Be careful though, because many cultures attach a lot of significance to certain numbers. Make sure that your number doesn’t represent bad luck or other negative things in the country you’re operating in.
Underscores in a domain name?
These are often understood as being written words. If you want to separate your domain name to make it more readable, consider a hyphen instead, bearing in mind that these make the domain name more complicated and may make it less memorable. Underscores should never be used for directories, as well as for image files. Either omit them, or use a hyphen.
Keep it short and simple! This avoids misspellings, and makes your domain name easier to remember. Over 50% of searches are made through a smartphone, so a clumsy domain will make your website harder to find. Use a maximum of 10 characters, and avoid hyphens wherever possible.
Don’t use the name of public figures in your domain name. To make sure you’re not breaching copyright, or copying someone else’s brand, you can check out the intellectual property office’s website.
Using a personal domain is a great way to build your professional online presence. You can use this address to forward visitors to your Facebook or LinkedIn, and therefore redirect people to your professional pages. It also gives you the possibility to create a personalised email address.
Finally, a simple tip that is nevertheless useful: Can you read your domain out loud? If other people can’t understand what is being said to them, sharing your domain with others will be difficult, minimising your potential visitors.
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